The role of domain experts in the development of the course English for Border and Coast Guards

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The role of domain experts in the development of the course English for Border and Coast Guards


The growing significance of international border policing and law enforce- ment cooperation in European security policy is undisputed. The success of the related operational and training activities largely depends on the ef- ficiency of the English communication of those involved in them. Interna- tional and Hungarian professional and legal documents discussing the training of police and customs officers and border guards1 have pointed out the deficiencies in this field and the need for further training courses in foreign languages several times.2 The fact that specific-purpose English language courses continue to be important content elements of the curricula both of national law enforcement training institutions and of the two largest EU agencies involved in the training of police officers and border and coast

1 For the purposes of this paper, the term ‘border guard’ will be used in accordance with the Schengen Borders Code, meaning “Any public official assigned, in accordance with national law, to a border crossing point or along the border or the immediate vicinity of that border who carries out … border control tasks”.

2 Borszéki, J. (2019): E-learning anyagok használata az angol rendészeti szakmai nyelv oktatásában. Rendőrségi Tanulmányok 2019/3. 115-149; Magasvári, A. (2018): What is a good entrant into the labour market? The expectations of the National Tax and Customs Administration, Tudásmenedzsment, 2018, Issue 2. 123-130.; Borszéki, J. (2015): A Rendőrség határrendészeti feladatokat ellátó állományának idegen nyelvi ismeretei és ér- deklődése a nemzetközi határrendészeti tevékenységek iránt. In: Szelei, I, Berki, G. (eds.) A hadtudomány és a 21. század, Tanulmánykötet. Budapest: DOSZ Hadtudományi Oszt- ály, 2015, pp. 163-196; Ürmösné Simon, G. – Barnucz, N. (2020): Az Idegennyelvi és Szaknyelvi Lektorátus múltbeli és jelenlegi tevékenységei, valamint a jövő perspektívája.

In: Bocz, Zs. – Besznyák, R. (ed.) Porta Lingua 2020. Szaknyelvoktatás és –kutatás nem- zetközi kontextusban SZOKOE: Budapest.


guards (CEPOL and FRONTEX3) proves that the abovementioned problem still exists. (See also Borszéki). 4

The FRONTEX Sectoral Qualifications Framework also defines effec- tive communication in a foreign language at every level of border guards’

training but only a limited number of border guards has the opportunity to access institutional training. 5 (Similarly, experts of the EU customs com- munity in collaboration with the Directorate General of Taxation and Cus- toms Union of the European Commission carefully defined their common values and recommendations in competency standards and started as- sessing higher education programmes of the Member States. For the uni- versity programmes that meet the high standards of EU Customs Compe- tency Frameworks the European Commission started to grant recognition certificates since 2019).6 The need for developing the ESP (English for Specific Purposes) competences of border guards resulted in the the FRON- TEX Training Unit launching the “Training in English Communication for Border Guards” project in 2010, with the aim to build language capabili- ties among EU Member States (MS) and Schengen Associated Countries (SAC) border guards so that they will be able to communicate in English

3 European Border and Coast Guard Agency

4 Borszéki, J. (2016): Training border policing experts in English for specific purposes (ESP): Uniform trends in EU member states. [in:] Kaljula, D (Ed.) SISEKAITSEAKA- DEEMIA TEADUSARTIKLID: Valikkogu. Tallinn: Sisekaitseakadeemia, 31-65.

5 FRONTEX (2015): Sectoral Qualifications Framework for Border Guarding VOL. I.

FRONTEX: Warsaw 122. VOL. II. 49.

6 The Customs BA programme of the Faculty of Law Enforcement of the University of Public Service received such recognition certificate in 2019. See Csaba, Z. et al. (2020):

Kompetenciaalapú vámügyi felsőoktatás az EU tagállamokban. In: Csaba Z., Szabó, A.

(eds.) Közös kihívások – egykor és most. Budapest, Magyar Rendészettudományi Társa- ság Vám- és Pénzügyőri Tagozat. 35-52.; Euro- pean Commission Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union (2019): The EU Customs Competency Framework: modernising customs through competency based hu- man resource management. EU Publications Office, Luxembourg.



performing daily tasks and during joint operations coordinated by FRON- TEX. 7 The phase of the project that started in 2015 focuses on creating self-access, online language courses. Its first product is the course entitled

“English for Border and Coast Guards Level 1”8, available online since 2018. Level 2 of the same course is being developed now.

One aim of this paper is to present the specific course development methodology through the process of the development the abovementioned digital tool, conducted by non-language specialists, i.e. domain experts.

The other aim is to prove that, under certain circumstances, the use of such methodology that is different from traditional ESP practice can be and is justified.

Needs analysis and course development for ESP courses in the latest special literature

The literature that discusses the methodology used for the creation of spe- cific-purpose curricula and syllabi links these abovementioned activities.

The process of planning, realisation and assessment of specific-purpose language teaching is fundamentally based on needs analysis9, and thus it is a key part of course development. 10

The recent studies written on this subject show new tendencies. During task-based needs analysis11 for specific-purpose language teaching tradi-

7 FRONTEX (2011): Basic English for Border Guards at Airports, Introduction. (electro- nic learning material); FRONTEX (2013): Mid-Level English for Border Guards at Air- ports, Instruction Booklet, (electronic teaching material on DVD)

8 Originally English for Border Guards, which was changed after the European Border and Coast Guard was established by the regulation (EU) 2016/1624.

9 Kurtán, Zs. (2003): Szakmai nyelvhasználat. Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó: Budapest, 198

10 Basturkmen, H. (2010): Developing Courses in English for Specific Purposes. Palgrave Macmillan: New York 19., 25., 71-86., 143

11 Long, M. (2005). Overview: A rationale for needs analysis and needs analysis research.

In Long, M. (ed.): Second Language Needs Analysis. Cambridge University Press: Camb- ridge. 1-16. DOI:; Flowerdew, L.


tionally involving the analysis of the target and the present situation, learn- ers’ lacks, wants, means, subjective means, educational context, discourse analysis etc.12, qualitative and ethnographic methods13 and complex ap- proaches are becoming more and more prominent. Serafini et al14 come to the conclusion that needs analysis should be task-based and qualitative and quantitative research, the triangulation of methodology relying on both open- and close-ended questions, data collected from several sources should be applied. The model suggested by Huhta et al15 is language user- centred, as opposed to the earlier “top-down”, designer-centred approach.

Based on the holistic approach of needs analysis and communication, it focuses on sociological aspects rather than those of descriptive linguistics.

It was created in the framework of the CEF Professional Profiles Project, whose aim is to adapt the recommendations of the CEFR (Common Euro- pean Framework of Reference)16 for (general) languages to specific-pur- pose languages, to precisely define the needs of various fields and thus make it easier for language teachers working in secondary and higher edu- cation to design specific-purpose language courses. This type of needs

(2013): Needs Analysis and Curriculum Development in ESP. In: Paltridge, B. – Starfield, S. (eds.) (2013): The Handbook of English for Specific Purposes, First Edition. John Wiley

& Sons, Inc.: Oxford.


12 Basturkmen, H. (2010): Ibid.; Uricska, E. (2020): Proper interactive communication of the police as a(n e-) trust building strategy. Introducing the term policing digilect. Kosice Security Review, 10. 2. sz., 185–195.

13 Dressen-Hamouda, D. (2013): Ethnographic approaches to ESP research. In: Paltridge, B. – Starfield, S. (eds.): The handbook of English for specific purposes. Wiley-Blackwell:



14 Serafini, E. et al. (2015): Needs analysis for specialized learner populations: Essential methodological improvements. English for Specific Purposes. vol. 40.



15 Huhta, M. et al. (2013): Needs Analysis for Language Course Design: A Holistic Approach to ESP. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

16 Council of Europe: Common European Framework of Reference for Languages:

Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Electronic source:


analysis does not only consider the individual but also the language activi- ties he/she conducts in his/her special field, in various speech situations and contexts as a member of various social groups (See also Uricska17 and Ür- mösné Simon18. Using the method of thick description, this needs analysis model was used to set up profile descriptions for five fields of secondary and higher education (business, healthcare, social services, law and tech- nology) that can serve as samples for other sectors. (The adapted version of this profile for border policing can be found in an earlier study19.)

The aforementioned paper written by Serafini et al also mentions the promising phenomenon that the research done in ESP needs analysis often consults the domain experts, i.e. the non-linguist representatives of the var- ious fields. Other studies also point out their role e.g. in measuring specific- purpose linguistic competences and often come to the conclusion that non- language specialists and language experts assess the performance of the same person at an ESP test differently and have different views on what efficient communication means. The former focus on whether the knowledge of the given discipline has been proved and the communication as a whole has been carried out with success. The latter tend to consider

17 Uricska, Erna. (2021): A rendészeti közösségi oldalak alkalmazása a szaknyelvoktatás- ban. Educatio. 29. 4. sz. (forthcoming).

18 Ürmösné Simon, G. (2019): Miben segítik a nyelvi ujjnyomok a nyomozást? In: Magyar Rendészet 2019/1. DOI:; Speech accommodation acts i.e. to whom we talk, determine how we assimilate to the speaker, and considering social strata, prestige norms, the expectation of the subculture, subordination, and gender, are all key factors, and also have an enormous impact on language usage. Ürmösné Simon, G. (2015): Érák, szubkultúrák, szocializáció, férfi-kontra női agy a gendernyelvészet tük- rében. Magyar Rendészet 2015/2; Ürmösné Simon, G. (2017): A case study, based on a spontaneous discourse of Greek - Hungarian bilinguals, in respect of interjections, swear words and syntactical mistakes, as regards gender. Magyar Rendészet 2017/4.

19 Borszéki, J. (2017): The Definition of Specific-Purpose English Language Competen- ces Needed in Border Control and Their Development Potentials, I. The Issues of Defining Specific-Purpose Language Competences. Magyar Rendészet, 17/4. 135


only the linguistic aspects, often punishing linguistic mistakes that actually do not hinder communication in the given situation.20

Another group of studies highlights the importance of cooperation be- tween linguists and non-linguist experts21, and discusses the important role of the latter in needs analysis.22 Basturkmen23 showcases the development of an English course for police officers in Australia from needs analysis to

20 Knoch, U. (2014): Using subject specialists to validate an ESP rating scale: The case of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rating scale 2014, English forSpe- cific Purposes 33, 77-86.

Source: nerID=MN8TOARS


20 Elder, C. et al. (2017): Interrogating the construct of communicative competence in language assessment contexts: What the non-language specialist can tell us, Language &

Communication 57. DOI:; Whyte, S.

(2019): Revisiting Communicative Competence in the Teaching and Assessment of Language for Specific Purposes. Language Education & Assessment. 2/1 1-19

21 Fischer, M. (2016): Mit üzennek előadásaink, mit rejtenek írásaink? In: Bocz, Zs. – Besznyák, R. (szerk.): Porta Lingua 2016. A szaknyelv rétegződése a szakmában, az ok- tatásban és a kutatásban. SZOKOE: Budapest. 7-12; Spiczéné Bukovszki, E. (2015): Mű- szaki szaknyelvoktatás: új válaszok a régi kihívásokra, In: Bocz, Zs. (szerk.) (2015): Porta Lingua 2015. A XXI. századi szakmai, szaknyelvi kommunikáció kihívásai: tanári és ta- nulói kompetenciák, SZOKOE: Budapest. 253-266; Ürmösné Simon, G. (2019): Ibid.

22 Hajdu, Z. – Czellér, M. (2015): A vállalati szaknyelv oktatásának eszközei és módszerei egy projekt tapasztalatainak tükrében, In: Bocz, Zs. (szerk.) (2015): Porta Lingua 2015. A XXI. századi szakmai, szaknyelvi kommunikáció kihívásai: tanári és tanulói kompeten- ciák. SZOKOE: Budapest. 205-212; Jasso-Aguilar, R. (1999): Sources, Methods and Tri- angulation in Needs Analysis: A Critical Perspective in a Case Study of Waikiki Hotel Maids. English for Specific Purposes. 18/1. 27–46; Korotchenko, T. – Matveenko, I. – Strelnikova, A. (2016): Models of syllabus design in teaching ESP (Geoscience). In: 16th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference, SGEM 2016: Science and Technologies in Geology, Exploration and Mining - Conference Proceedings (Vol. 3, pp.

899-906). International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference.


23 Basturkmen, H. (2010) Ibid.; Kovács, É. (2021): The experiences of running ''Advanced Technical English'' courses for engineering students at Donát Bánki Faculty of Mechanical and Safety Engineering, Óbuda University, Biztonságtudományi Szemle 2021/1 (forthcoming)


course development and evaluation. Similarly to border guards’ work, be- cause of the frequent presence of classified information, conducting obser- vation and research of professional communication related to police offic- ers’ activities is often a challenge. However, in the case presented in this study, the course developers received significant help from the police of- ficers, who even allowed them to go on car patrols with them and explained to them investigative interviewing techniques.

Development of the “English for Border and Coast Guards” course

In this chapter I am going to compare Basturkmen’s needs analysis and course development model with the processes before and during the devel- opment of the EBCG course. Basturkmen represented the three main areas of course development (Analysing needs, Investigating specialist discourse and Determining the curriculum) in the form of a multi-layered pyramid, pointing out that the first two (she calls them ‘below the surface’ levels) are the solid basis that the third component (the ‘above surface’ level, man- ifested in the learning material) should be built upon. (Figure 1.)

Figure 1: Representation of ESP course development24

24 Basturkmen, H. (2010): Ibid., 143.


Level 1: Analysing needs Considerations:

Situation analysis: What tasks are involved in the work or study area and what are the standards for their performance? Can the tasks be divided into subtasks?

What type of needs to investigate (for example, objective and/or subjec- tive, immediate/long term, skills and/or tasks)?

Which language-based skills or tasks do the students find difficult?

What is the nature of the students’ difficulties in these language-based skills or tasks (for example, linguistic, conceptual, cultural)?

Table 1: Level 125

The first product of the abovementioned Training in English Communi- cation for Border Guards project was the A2/B1 level e-learning tool enti- tled “Basic English for Border Guards at Airports”, (hereinafter: EBGA) for border guards of EU Member States (MS) and Schengen Associated Countries (SAC) at airports, aimed to give the opportunity for border guard staff to develop their skills by self-access learning.26 The CD was followed by a DVD for B2 level in 2013. They were made accessible in the EU and the Schengen area, exclusively for law enforcement staff. The project for its development involved experts from 24 EU and Schengen member states and six third countries. The aim was to help develop the key language skills related to oral interaction, based on real-life situations. Border guards with many years of empiric experience wrote the dialogues performed in such situations. They focused on a range of border guarding vocabulary defined by them, so as to model language activities that correspond to the typical

25 Basturkmen, H. (2010): Ibid., 143.

26 FRONTEX (2011): Ibid.


domains of language use (See Borszéki27 in detail), including the risk mit- igative28 and multiagency approach at the borders that are both fundamen- tal provisions of the European integrated border management framework29.

I had the opportunity to join the FRONTEX working group, an interna- tional team of experienced border guards and English teachers in 2015. Our task was to develop a tool (firstly, its Level 1, for A2/B1 English level) similar to the EBGA ones but relevant for all the three types of borders, involving modern ICT solutions and accessible on the internet by a wide range of staff, even outside the framework of formal education. Thus, I was able to interview the colleagues who had been involved in the development of the EBGA tools. I learnt that no traditional needs analysis had been made for those learning programmes. Situation analysis or investigation regard- ing the would-be students’ needs were not carried out this time (for the EBCG tool), either. However, FRONTEX published its “Common Core Curriculum”30 (CCC), “EU Border Guard Basic Training”, revised in 2012 31, used in all the EU member states, which, categorised according to professional topics, gives a detailed description of all the contexts and speech situations in which border guards need to communicate in English and also lists the English knowledge, skills and competences that can be

27 Borszéki, J.: The Principles of Modern Language Teaching Represented in an EU Tra- ining Tool for Border Guards II. Hadtudományi Szemle 2014/2. p. 106–122.

Source: _2014_ 02_106-122.pdf

28 Border control vocabulary is necessarily embedded in the context of the areas of res- ponsibility of all the relevant border agencies, e.g. Customs, Phytosanitary and Veterinary inspection services etc. with partly overlapping territories; cf. Csaba, Z.: Border traffic risk assessment. Academic and Applied Research in Military and Public Management Sci- ence 2012/2. p. 273–285.

29 cf. Article 3, Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624

30 Kiss, L.: The Presentation and Evaluation of the Project „Core Curriculum for Border Guard Training” Casopis Policajna Teoria a Prax 2016/1. p. 47-59.

31 FRONTEX (2012): Common Core Curriculum. EU Border Guard Basic Training.



expected at B1 level. This section of the CCC was compiled by experienced border guards and English teachers.

No particular analysis of lacks was done for the EBCG tool, either, but it is obvious that the decision about the development of an English course accessible by many professionals was made because of the deficiencies in this specific-purpose English within the discourse community. FRONTEX as the agency responsible for the training of European border guards and its department, the Training Unit received feedback from border guards working in all the areas of border control that a large part of the border guarding staff do not have the level of proficiency in English for Border Guards that allows for high-standard professional activities. Border guards invited to the meetings of the abovementioned team frequently highlighted the problem that many colleagues do not know and cannot appropriately use Schengen and FRONTEX terminology, which regularly hindered com- munication during joint operations. My investigations have also confirmed this problem. The majority of those applying to get into the Hungarian pool of European Border and Coast Guard Teams fail at the English for Border Guards oral examination at the Border Policing Department of the National Police Headquarters32.

Level 2: Investigating specialist discourse Considerations

Which linguistic forms and features to investigate (for example, those the students are weak in or unaware of, those members of the community of practice stress as important)?

What data to collect (for example, do relevant literature, descriptions and corpora already exist or does primary data need to be collected)?

32 Borszéki, J.: Az angol szaknyelvi kompetenciák szerepe a határrendészeti szervek nem- zetközi együttműködése megvalósításában, fejlesztésük lehetőségei. Doktori (PhD). érte- kezés, NKE, Hadtudományi Doktori Iskola. Budapest. 2016. p. 149., 171

Source: tanne_borszeki_judit.pdf.


What approach to use in the investigation (for example, ethnography and/or text analysis)?

What primary data to collect (texts, marked scripts of students’ writing, observations, self-reports, such as interviews)?

How to analyse the texts/discourse from the target community of practice or discipline (for example, whole or part of the texts, for specific fea- tures)?

How to devise pedagogical descriptions of discourse in the specialist area?

Table 2: Level 233

The manager and the sub-manager of the EBCG project decided not to analyse the speech situations defined in the abovementioned CCC (2012 edition), but to follow the methodology of the earlier EBGA tools for data collection. In accordance with this, each member state was requested to delegate one or two border guards (with a good command of English for Border Guards and profound professional knowledge), who attended one- week workshops focusing on each type of border (air, land and sea). They were given a list of professional topics and speech situations, and, based on them, they wrote dialogues that, according to their daily experience, typi- cally take place during so called first-line checks. They also compiled a list of key terminology, the items of which (680 in all) and 350 sentences were embedded in the dialogues.

The basic concept for Level 1 of the course was that speech situations related to first-line border control usually required B1 level of English. This involves procedures during which the border guard verifies whether the passenger reporting for entry or exit (in certain cases an undocumented ir- regular migrant) fulfils the conditions of crossing an external border de- fined by EU regulations. If a suspicion arises that the person does not meet these criteria, the border guard refers the case to the second line for a more thorough examination. This is a more complex task, both professionally

33 Basturkmen, H. (2010): Ibid., 143


and linguistically, therefore the dialogues in EBCG Level 1 always end at this point.

The question arises whether the triangulation of various methods and sources used for needs analysis and the collection of data recommended in the literature was applied in this case. Definitely, needs could have been mapped more precisely by e.g. some quantitative research. It is also worth considering whether the “first-hand” corpus that defined the target situa- tions in detail suffices, with no linguistic discourse analysis (vocabulary frequency, genres etc.) done.

Level 3: Determining the curriculum Considerations:

How to focus of the course (for example, wide- or narrow-angled) How to deliver the course (for example, web-based, classes, workshops, on-site or off-site)?

What units to include in the syllabus and how to sequence them (for ex- ample, genres, features of spoken discourse, conceptual content, easy to difficult, immediate to less immediate needs)?

How to evaluate learning (for example, with reference to the final or way-stage criteria or performance objectives used in the community of practice)?

What materials to develop and what types of tasks to include (for exam- ple, pedagogical descriptions of discourse and tasks that make use of ac- tivities of the work or study area)?

Table 3: Level 334

In the case of the EBCG course, the abovementioned particular elements of course design were defined by the managers of the project and the Eng- lish teachers in the team. They were formulated in the course description, too. The target group for the course are border guards working in the first line of border control whose command of general English is at A2/B1 level

34 Basturkmen, H. (2010): Ibid., 143


and who wish to develop their specific-purpose English skills. Due to its nature, the e-learning tool mainly develops receptive skills, the knowledge of terminology and to a limited extent, spelling skills, too. With the help of these skills, the border guard will be able to conduct more efficient com- munication in English with passengers, irregular migrants and foreign col- leagues during joint operations. The course is available both on PCs and mobile devices. As it is embedded in the password-protected learning man- agement system (LMS) of FRONTEX, in the Virtual Aula, it can also be used offline, the activities of the user are recorded and are updated after online access. Registered teachers can create virtual classrooms and moni- tor their students’ learning patterns. The learning material is organised in a linear structure. It includes a compulsory, General module and three other, optional modules corresponding the three types of border. The modules contain thematic units with two or three subunits that present 3 to 8 dia- logues. The learners get formative feedback about their progress at the end of each module, after they have done the tasks in the Assessment section.

The structure of the course was defined by the English teachers of the team. After they corrected the linguistic mistakes in the dialogues created by the border guards and supplemented them with a few reading compre- hension texts. Based on the topics and speech situations, they sorted the dialogues into subunits within which the graded them according to diffi- culty. The teachers also defined the method of working with the units; the most frequent related vocabulary is presented at the beginning of each unit.

Visual and listening elements help the learner understand, read, pronounce and learn these items. (Also cf. Barnucz35.) After that the learner watches/listens to the video/audio recordings of the dialogues, each com- plemented by tasks to help/check understand them. After each subunit re- vision exercises help the learner deepen their knowledge gained in this way and practise the usage of the terminology.

35 Barnucz, N.: IKT eszközök szerepe az angol nyelv oktatásában. Educatio. 2019/2.




Of course, the tasks and exercises were also made by the English teach- ers in an electronic format, who made sure that the lexical items to be ac- quired are presented in varied contexts, with the necessary frequency. The recording of the dialogues and the final formatting of the electronic mate- rial were organised by the FRONTEX Training Unit, also employing third- party companies. The audio recordings were made with the help of border guards from the Warsaw headquarters of FRONTEX with a native level of English, while British actors made the video recordings. As compared to the EBGA tools, the EBCG course was a step forward in terms of both graphic design (See Figures 2 and 3) and language teaching methodology, as this time the concept of the language teachers was offered a larger scope.

Figure 2: Screens from the EBGA tools

Figure 3: Screens from the EBCG tool, Level 1


The advantage of the online tool discussed here is that the language learner is not confined to place and time, can proceed at their own pace and can get immediate feedback about their progress. The learner’s motivation can be enhanced by the fact that the content is comprehensive, varied, the user interface is aesthetic, easy to use and the structure of the learning ma- terial is clear and transparent. The programme has several functions (word search, simultaneous access to several windows showing different media) that traditional, printed textbooks lack. Learning is more flexible and more economical than in the case of residential or classroom courses (need to provide teachers, absence of trained staff for the duration of the course) (Also cf. Barnucz36).

Such tools, however, have their limitations; they mainly develop recep- tive and reproduction skills. We like to call them interactive but in fact this only means that the user is not merely a passive spectator of the learning material but they have interaction with the tool through the “human com- puter interface”37, that is, for example, they react to various stimuli after understanding and memorising a certain amount of “input”. As the pro- gramme has to respond to every answer given by the user, the tasks cannot be open-ended. Thus, the tool is not capable of developing (oral and writ- ten) production skills that require creative solutions. Communication-cen- tred language instruction traditionally defines three phases of the learn- ing/teaching process, such as Presentation, Practice and Production).38

36 Barnucz, N.: IKT-eszközökkel Támogatott (Rendészeti) Nyelvoktatás. Magyar Rendé- szet 2019/1. Nemzeti Közszolgálati Egyetem. Budapest.


37 Dzandu, M – Tang, Y: Beneath a learning management system – Understanding the human information interaction in information systems. 6th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE 2015) and the Affiliated Conferences, AHFE 2015, Procedia Manufacturing.

Source: main.pdf?_tid=b0d24fb4-9f24-4c53-8cb9-64699fdf0f56&ac-


38 This approach is often challenged. According to the task-based method, these phases should be applied in a more flexible way, so that learners can be involved more actively.

Consequently, these phases, too, should be named differently: Pre-task, Task, Planning,


When using the EBCG course and similar e-learning tools we cover only the first two phases. During practice there are so-called pre-communica- tive, structured, close-ended exercises at the users’ disposal, which provide the opportunity for controlled practice of the target vocabulary and speech functions (e.g. asking for and giving information). The next phase, using the learnt items independently, perhaps even in a new situation or context would follow only after that. Luckily, the members of the target group can do this in their everyday work, while fulfilling daily duties and they can test their progress by how successful their real-life communication is. Pro- fessional feedback and the correction of mistakes, however, can only be provided with the help of a language teacher. Practising in simulated, near- life situations involving unexpected elements so important in communica- tion and the joint activities of students can only be realised in the frame- work of classroom tuition. Therefore, the EBCG tool can be an important constituent of a blended learning course, for example.

No research has been done about the efficiency of the course but we have some feedback on the first EBGA tool, which was made with a similar methodology. After it was introduced for training and self-access use in the member states between 2010 and 2012, FRONTEX made qualitative and quantitative analyses, based on a survey done in 21 countries, which showed that the language skills of the border guards who used the CD did develop. Almost all users stated that they wanted to continue their studies at a higher level. This led to the publishing of the B2 level EBGA tool.

According to the data in the Virtual Aula, Level 1 of the EBCG course had 3500 users in January 2021.

The course has been presented to the staff of several units in the FRON- TEX headquarters and it was a unanimous success. For example, the de- partment involved in managing joint return operations, achieved that a sup- plementary module on Returns has been added to the EBCG Level 2

Report, Analysis and Practice, see Willis, J. (1996): A Framework for Task-based Learning. Longman: Harlow and Borszéki (2014), Ibid.


course, being developed now, using the same methodology that we had in the case of Level 1.


The present paper introduced a method different from the usual needs anal- ysis and development process applied for ESP courses, which is not man- aged by the language teacher or a linguist appointed to do the course de- velopment. The development of the course is initiated by non-linguist ex- perts. The needs are defined on the basis of the topics listed in a curriculum compiled earlier (and for a somewhat different purpose). The domain ex- perts create the corpora that model the language activities corresponding to the typical domains of language use. These texts constitute the basis of the course material and are adjusted to the given learning purposes by the lan- guage teachers who develop the learning material. I still think that this un- usual method is effective, because of the features of the given domain de- tailed below.

I consider it particularly important that the teaching tool is primarily designed to develop the skills needed for oral communication39, and it is very difficult to gather the necessary professional language corpus for this.

In the working group, the English teachers were able work on texts that could have been compiled, for example, using the aforementioned CEF Professional Profile. This model would include visiting Border Crossing Points, recording English dialogues conducted by border guards and inter- viewing them, which, on the one hand, is a very lengthy process, and, on the other hand, in most cases is not even permitted for English teachers who are not professional police officers/border guards.

The language activity in question accompanies professional processes that are very precisely defined by law and regulations. The curriculum fo-

39 Barnucz, N – Uricska, E. (2021): Innovatív nyelvtanulási módszerek és módszertan a rendészeti szaknyelvi képzés vizsgálatában. Új Pedagógiai Szemle 2021/9-10.


cuses on a special part of the professional field, therefore almost all occur- ring speech situations can be modelled and displayed in a limited number of dialogues that can be realistically processed in the course. Due to the previously detailed limitations of the tool, the range of communicative skills to be developed with its help is also limited. Also, the aim is not to take the user to a higher language level. The emphasis is on the acquisition of specific-purpose language elements.

The hierarchical nature of FRONTEX as an institution and of border policing in general, the high degree of their organisation made it possible for non-linguist domain experts to be available and to spend a relatively significant part of their working time contributing to the project.

Perhaps the fact that the Agency has the financial resources that make it possible to apply a high-tech electronic content development tool and pro- ficient programmers, thus providing the right didactic basis and attractive graphic design for the learning material, should not be overlooked, either.

As mentioned earlier, using the methodology discussed in this paper, applying all the lessons learnt from the work on Level 1, Level 2 of the EBCG course is being developed now. The course focusses on second-line border control, with additional modules on Pre-return, Return and Docu- ment examination, which gave the opportunity for the English teachers in the working group to gain more experience in these fields, too.


Figure 1: Representation of ESP course development 24

Figure 1:

Representation of ESP course development 24 p.7
Figure 2: Screens from the EBGA tools

Figure 2:

Screens from the EBGA tools p.14


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